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Thursday, 15 September 2011 02:00

Exploring Gender: Chaz Bono on Dancing with the Stars

Written by  Cael



Typing transgender into Google news today overwhelmingly returned results on Chaz Bono’s decision to join Dancing with the Stars (DWTS). Many articles I read were in opposition to his participation in the show, though there were some articles in support and some which refused to take a side on the issue, merely reporting the controversy.

Comments in opposition varied from “I don’t support the lifestyle” to “I don’t want my kids to be confused” to the definitive opinion of Dr. Keith Ablow of Fox News that seeing Bono on DWTS would create gender dysphoria in children watching the show. The president of the American Psychiatric Association in response to Ablow’s article stated, “There is no evidence that viewing a television game show with a transgender contestant would induce Gender Identity Disorder in young people” ( Looking at Bono, though, at the end of his transition, I don’t believe anyone without already knowing his circumstances would regard him as trans.

Much of the negative response has stemmed from a lack of knowledge about the community, and many of the articles supporting Bono are recognizing the disparity, applauding Bono for his bravery in becoming a visible role model for genderqueer individuals. Bono himself stated August 31 on Twitter in response to those against his appearance on the show, “The haters are just motivating me to work harder and stay on DWTS as long as I possibly can.”

Bono is taking the rare opportunity to become a catalyst for change, and I hope he does well in the show. His appearance on DWTS, which has yet to air, has already prompted a much needed dialogue about gender identity. The more transgender individuals who can be seen in the mainstream media, the more exposure the community will have as a part of society.



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